Prime Minister David Cameron has set Britain against the free countries of the EU by backing the EU’s proposed semi-automatic firearm ban – pitting him against his own MEPs and his party’s allies in the EU.
According to a government press release issued in time for this Sunday’s newspapers, Cameron “will call for an EU-wide ban on high-powered semi-automatic weapons at the European Council later this week.”
A canned quote attributed to the PM said: “We need to ensure that terrorists do not have the weapons with which they can wreak such tragedy. So at this week’s summit, I’ll be calling for a new EU-wide ban on all high-powered semi-automatic weapons and greater co-operation to crack down on the smuggling trade and to stop guns coming in from the western Balkans.”
It appears that Cameron will be following the EU Commission’s lead in explicitly linking the gun ban with the Paris mass murders of November, where illegally acquired fully-automatic weapons were used to slaughter hundreds of innocents.
“The UK is one of the most violent countries in the EU,” said Katja Triebel, a spokesman from grassroots EU-wide campaign group Firearms United. “The UK wants its gun laws for the whole EU. None of these bans stopped crime or terrorism.”
While all semi-automatic rifles other than those chambered in .22″ were banned in the UK in 1988, and short firearms were banned in 1997, the .22″ semi-automatic rifle and long-barrelled pistol market is flourishing in Britain under our strict vetting and licensing laws.
The sport of shooting is worth £2bn annually to the UK economy and supports 74,000 jobs, many of which are dependent upon lawful access to semi-automatic firearms. Britain has 736,000 licensed firearm and shotgun owners and 1.3 million legally held firearms and shotguns in circulation.
As discussed in depth here on UK Shooting News, the EU gun ban will only stop vetted and licensed sportsmen from being able to buy and use semi-automatic firearms. The EU itself admitted that the ban “will not tackle the threat” of terrorist atrocities, meaning attacks like the Paris murders will not be stopped by this ban.
Virtually all other EU nations permit licensed and vetted sportsmen to use semi-automatic rifles and pistols and more than a quarter of a million people have signed a petition against the EU Commission’s proposals. Nordic states such as Finland and Sweden have lodged formal objections to the ban, while a hearing in the EU parliament last week saw numerous vocal and sustained objections from virtually all member states’ MEPs – except for the British representatives.
Cameron’s Conservative Party is a member of the EU’s European Conservatives and Reformists group. Amongst that grouping are MEPs from Finland and Poland – who collectively outnumber Cameron’s 10 Tory MEPs. British eurosceptic party UKIP, though not a member of the ECR grouping, has 24 MEPs and intends to vote against the ban – meaning Cameron is likely to be outvoted and lose, further damaging his credibility and standing at EU level.
Some Tory MEPs have written to their constituents saying they will stand against the ban, while others have been more ambivalent. At the time of writing it is not known whether party whips have instructed anti-ban MEPs to change their voting intentions.
Britain’s Labour party, the only other party of note at EU level, has indicated it will support the ban in full.
UK Shooting News’ author Gaz Corfield, a British journalist whose hobby is target shooting, is available for media comment – see the About/Contact page.